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Best Practices - Start with A Good Breakfast




    Sayville High School’s "Breakfast of Champions" program has been selected for inclusion in the 2011 Magna Best Practices Database by the National School Boards Association and was one of only 114 highly-scored programs selected for this special recognition from the 359 nominations submitted this past year.

    Over the past 17 years, the American School Board Journal’s Magna Awards, sponsored by Sodexo School Services, has featured “many excellent examples of school district leadership, and this year is no exception,” so states the Magna Awards - American School Board Journal website. “High school retention and dropout prevention are clear trends this year. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase these award-winning projects as examples of innovation and excellence in school governance.”

    With the establishment of the fully searchable Magna Best Practices Database, the awarded schools are showcased for reference as model programs that other schools can imitate and incorporate in their own school districts. In this way, the Magna Best Practices Database provides the education world with a valuable resource for innovative best practices, proven and practical solutions for big and small district problems, and
    new ideas. 


    Each year, the highest-scoring programs from those submitted
    are added to the database, where they will be available for at least
    five years. By searching the database (available online at
    www.asbj.com/magna) with any of the keywords and phrases, such as “Character Education,” “Parent Participation,” Board of Education Involvement, “Public Relations,” and “Student Achievement,” database users will find Sayville’s Breakfast of Champions as a best-practice example.

    Congratulations to the Sayville High School community for earning such recognition from the 2011 Magna Awards.



    What prompted Sayville School District to create BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS program?


                Sayville High School has an abundance of academic scholarship awards, athletic awards, fine art awards as well as being rewarded for personal accomplishments, but we did not have awards for the students who perform random acts of kindness and who model good character and citizenship on a regular basis. There are so many students in our building who achieve success that is measured by a plaque, a medal or a scholarship, but through the Breakfast of Champions program we acknowledge the unsung heroes of or school. These students are recognized for their virtues of integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty. The program gives the staff the opportunity to nominate students who exemplify good character and celebrate their efforts in a breakfast ceremony that will be remembered for a long time to come. The ceremony is extremely well attended and accomplishes its goal in putting our student’s extraordinary behavior on center stage for the recognition it deserves.


    How did BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS provide solutions?


                The Breakfast of Champions Program provides the school with the opportunity to recognize the students who understand and live by the mission of the Sayville school district. Students are rarely assessed for following the vision or mission of its school. Students are expected to follow the rules and be respectful to their teachers and peers. But often times there are students who not only follow rules, but go above and beyond to be caring, kind, understanding, polite, and trustworthy. These students deserve a chance to be celebrated for helping shape the culture of our school and for their countless efforts they make to make our school a better place. The program provides solutions to acknowledging accomplishments of all students, gives the community a chance to meet students who may not regularly wish to be publically acknowledged for their accomplishments, and to provide examples to other students about good ways to conduct yourself in school.


    What was your board’s leadership role in this program?


                The Sayville Board of Education fully supports the goals and the objectives of the Breakfast of Champion Program. Our board members look at programs that support the vision and mission of the district in which they have helped create. The Breakfast gives board members a chance to hear why each recipient was chosen and by whom they were nominated. The program also allows board members the opportunity to meet the recipients and their parents, who played a major role in these young student’s lives. The Breakfast allows board members a chance to visit the building, listen to live music performed by our young musicians, and to enjoy a meal prepared and donated by local merchants. This is a biannual program that is featured in the school board highlights newsletter that is distributed to the entire Sayville community.



    Please describe the results of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.


                The Breakfast of Champions is an extremely humbling program that lifts the spirits of its recipients. It allows the student’s parents a chance to receive, a pat on the back, for being a positive influence on their child’s life. It’s nice to hear what each teacher wrote to describe how the student chooses to conduct themselves in their classes. We provide recipients with a certificate and a framed picture of a Wheeties Box with the student’s picture on the box. We display each recipient’s picture in a showcase in the main hallway of the school. Most students who participate in the program remember the ceremony as one of the highlights of their high school experience. Anytime you spotlight a student for their good behavior you really make an impact on their self esteem and their ability to continue these positive behaviors well into their adult lives.



    Summarizing BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS as a valuable program


                The Breakfast of Champions program at Sayville High School represents the often quiet students that do the right thing. These students most of whom would rather go unrecognized need to understand the importance of their conduct and that they are the true role models of the school. The ceremony itself, allows the school to display its students citizenship and character. It also allows school boards members a chance to interact with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members who donate their time and money for such a worthy cause.

                Schools make it a number one priority their students demonstrate exceptional character in society, but test scores and championships seem to overshadow the efforts some students make in order to demonstrate their character. This program allows our district to not only recognize the school board’s efforts in instilling good virtues upon its students, but acknowledging the students who practice such good character everyday they walk the halls of our high school.